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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Furniture and Effects

For the past year or so we have been host to almost the entire contents of the seven bedroomed Well House, where we lived whilst the water tower was being restored.   Family circumstances have dictated this situation and we await the planning decision on our extension, which will absorb some of the items but by no means all.

The stored items occupied
- one entire bay of the garage / navvy hut, floor to ceiling
- the entire volume of the coal truck
- the summer house
- almost the entire garage loft
- some of the interior of the main tower, especially the utility room and the atrium

Altogether, a big invasion of 'stuff'.   During last week we had a serious onslaught on this stuff, ruthlessly categorising it into keep (for the extension), ship to Pittsburgh (a family outpost), sell, take to charity shop and take to tip.   The ship to Pittsburgh category was in the event nil as shipping costs are absurdly high and the actual number of items in that category was actually low.   The biggest category by volume was 'sell' and it has worked out incredibly well in these social media days.   The Settle Sell and Seek Facebook facility has worked a treat and we have been able to reclaim an enormous amount of space - the garage bay in fact.

Such decisions can have unexpected results.   The dining table below was in the 'take to tip' category as it was so scruffy.   It fell into the 'sell' category when a £10 offer was made online, later upped to £20, unseen.  Then I sought advice from Simon Byrne, who has a flourishing restoration business.   He pleaded that we did not scrap it so I spent a couple of hours wax polishing with Fiddes 'stripped pine' blend of waxes - just right for use on almost any colour.   The first picture below does not do justice to its scruffiness but it does show potential:

click to make that enormous table leg even bigger

and here is the result of waxing the frame and legs only:

The top (which extends) remains to be done but already the results are remarkable.   A quick Google search reveals these things at £600 upwards.   Seller beware eh?

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

George is Back

Lovely meal at The Talbot last evening with Restoration Man George Clarke:

George's busy schedule enabled him and two of his children to revisit one of his favourite episodes after six years.   Off for a trip on the S&C today and to see some of the local sights.   By happy coincidence George's children and our grandchildren are the same ages and the grandchildren are here for half term.   They did not know George was going to drop in, which was a nice surprise for them.

RM relaxes on the sundeck, pretending the sun is shining, after a very hard morning riding on the S&C.   A far cry from paddling about in our wellies inside a rusty old water tank eh?

Bless him, on the way back from Appleby to Settle George put this on Instagram, Twitter etc:


I can’t even put into words how beautiful the Settle to Carlisle Railway Line is. The community volunteers are nothing short of amazing! Add the journey to your bucket list because it’s simply breathtaking. And say “hello” to Mark and Pat at Settle Water Tower if you get a chance #settle

To Appleby and back on the train I was amazed how many people not only recognised him but asked  variously for a photograph / a selfie / a kiss / just to say hello.   I have met people in the public eye who are dismissive of such requests - sometimes quite hurtfully.   Not so George.   He is unfailingly polite, friendly, obliging and modest.   Here is a smashing picture from Twitter during our journey:

Requested by a total stranger but resulting in a picture to treasure.   With selfies George takes charge of the camera '"My arms are longer than yours" he says.


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Now It's a New Boiler

Our Worcester Bosch gas central heating boiler decided it had had enough - just months out of its warranty period of course.   We now have a new one, quite a bit larger, hopefully to cope with the worst of winters in reasonable comfort.   This despite annual servicing.   Its heat exchanger was leaking and possibly had been leaking from the start - we were always having to top up with water as the system pressure dropped.   One wonders why the annual servicers did not pick this up.

The new one has a ten year guarantee, which should see us out, conditional though on having an expensive power flush:

Just about every single electro mechanical device in our 'future proofed' home has needed replacement:

Kingspan Envireau rainwater harvesting - main pump early on and controls not long after

Solar Panels Inverter

Worcester Bosch central heating boiler

Windows - a number of spontaneous breaks

Ethernet wiring - simply not used as wi-fi and Bluetooth have taken over

HDMI TV wiring - not used and by-passed.

TV aerial wiring and sockets constant problems.   Thank heaven for the BBC iPlayer and other channel equivalents

LED bulbs galore.   Fine for energy saving but nowhere near as long lived as the hype would have it.

Aritco Lift - a Godsend when it works but it has let us down (get it?) too often, despite annual servicing.

Vent Axia heat recovery ventilation - still grinding on but expensively troublesome.

The details are in contemporary Blog postings.

A common factor with a number of these items is the lack of an adequate user manual.   Yes, I know you can download them.   If one exists at all it tends to fall short of fault correction user instructions.   Clearly it is better for manufacturers and 'service' industries to insist on call-outs.   Instructions often tell you how to clean something but not how to clear faults.   YouTube can sometimes come to the rescue though.   A good example is the heat recovery ventilation whose air filters need changing quarterly.   A 'change air filters' message appears on a screen.   You change the air filters, a simple matter.   The screen still insists 'change air filters' but nowhere in the manual does it tell you how to cancel the message.   A mere irritation but symptomatic of a common problem.   It is exceedingly irritating for a gadget to stop working, for a screen to read 'Fault Code xxx', for an 'engineer' to travel from Sheffield or somewhere, to press a couple of buttons beep-beep-beep and everything works again.   You pay up and feel stupid.  The lift is a particularly good or bad example of this.   When it gets too many confusing commands it gives up and becomes in need of a re-set.   You can look until your eye balls ache to find an unambiguous statement of how to do that.

As we embark on a substantial extension (still in the planning balance) we are determined to keep things simple, not to fall for sales talk about future proofing and life changing new gadgets.  

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Prawn Layered Pasta Salad - literally

One of the many joys of living where we do in Settle is the proximity to very posh supermarket Booths - a short walk away.   Today we were both busy with this and that all morning so Pat had bought a Booths own-brand 'Prawn Pasta Salad'.   I have had and enjoyed them before.

Imagine my dismay therefore on (with some difficulty) opening the PLPS to find no prawns.   No, this cannot be I assured myself.   They must be buried under the lettuce, pasta and so forth.

I dug and I dug but no.   No prawns.   In a rush for a quick lunch I batted on and after a few disappointing forkfuls I discovered a prawn.   Singular.   Maybe that was it - it was a PLPS, not at PsLPS.   So delighted was I, I took a photograph of said prawn:

There he is - centre stage.   His name is Edwin and he looks lonely don't you think?

I bottomed the plastic dish and have to admit that I discovered another 1 1/2 prawns (Ethel and Wil.)   So that was it - 2 1/2 prawns.

I promise I polished off the lot and my prawn count was thorough.   Pleased though to read that it contained responsibly sourced prawns.

For now I am blaming Brexit for this outrage but in fairness I shall give Mr Booth the opportunity to make amends.   Watch this space.

This Space

I did what it said on Booths receipt and filled in a long questionnaire.   Then, nothing.   No acknowledgement.  No thank-you.  No 'we'll take it up with our supplier'.   Just nothing.

So, we took the documentation to the Settle store and were refunded the purchase price.   

Well Booths, the Co-op do these things better and cheaper y'know.   There's more than one fish in the sea - and more than 2 1/2 prawns in a Co-op Prawn and Pasta Layered Salad.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

I was born on the 15th of October umpty tum.   The year is a secret but there was a war on.   This birthday is precious as I nearly didn't live to see it.   It is now six months since my big fall and I feel really well along the supposedly 12 month recovery period.

Six months is quite a while yet the remnants of the Get Well flowers from the Restoration Man producer Melissa Mayne are still giving pleasure:

Here they are in the lounge with the Restoration Man black book and a water tower postcard in the foreground.

Bless them, daughter Lorna and grandsons James and Ben came all the way from Gerrards Cross to visit us this weekend.   Not the best picture in the world but here they are tucking in to my pre-birthday dinner:

Later we all enjoyed a super coffee icing birthday cake 75% covered in candles.   Damn, that may have given the game away.

Monday, and now it really is my birthday.   The sun is shining too.   Loads and loads of social media messages.   Pressies too.   What can you get for a 75 year old hoarder who has already been given everything?   The challenge was well met:

 a bunch of coins including a 1943 half penny.   You would have thought they might have used the copper for Spitfires in 1943 wouldn't you?

an i phone charger and lead.   You cannot have too many of these especially when you have grandchildren.

a bumper box of 4 x 500 piece jigsaws of scenes from the forties.

and an exercise cycle.   This is the very latest type with presumably magnetic resistance to the pedals, it really does simulate the real thing.   It has electronic read outs showing your pulse, mileage, calories expended and probably the FTSE 100 Index if you know what buttons to press.   I spent much of the morning assembling it.   Any born-again child knows that the best gifts are the ones you can actually play with.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

An Eventful Day

The Settle-Carlisle line has been effectively closed for much of the day becuse of a disabled freight train on the down (northbound) line at Low House, not far from Carlisle.   The signalman at Culgaith had seen sparks flying from a wheel on the nothbound freight train so asked his colleague at Low House to stop it.  A locked wheel had caused a big flat to be created.    So big in fact that the only remedy was to jack up the wheel and put a skid underneath it - then proceed at 5mph to a repair facility.   That took most of the day.   Who knows how much damage was done to the track.

Anyway, things are now back to what passes for normal as this lovely picture of a leaf busting train at Ribblehead at sunset testifies:

Our planning problem remains but has been massively reduced by supportive messages from FoSCL chairman Douglas Hodgins. British Water Tower Appreciation Society archivist Ferrers Young and Prof. Barry Barton - the ultimate expert on UK water towers and water supplies.   Also now Bryan Gray - both in his capacity as a private individual and as chairman of the S&C Railway Trust.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Another Milestone - and a Potential Millstone

Today I attended yet another clinic at Airedale Hospital, another example of the care and attention that flows from our much maligned NHS.

The further milestone is that I mowed the top lawn all by myself.   Despite the elctric lawnmower which does the real work I was knackered afterwards but on balance I enjoyed it.   The smell of a new mown lawn is one of life's blessings.   This isn't our lawn but it paints the picture:

The millstone is a devastating conservation and heritage report on our planning application, a year in the development, which advises refusal of several grounds including size (too big) and too domestic in appearance.

All towers have an inherent disadvantage - tallness.   This means that if they are to be occupied they need at or near ground level additions.   We (us and architect Stuart Green) have busted our guts to achieve a good design which respects what is already there.   Let us see.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Another Milestone

This morning I gave a 2 hour presentation to Skipton/ Craven U3A's railway group - a fearsome group of knowledgeable people.   I had three times had to cancel doing this talk and am relieved to have got it done at last.   They were gentle with me and appeared interested to hear how steam locomotives were watered.   A very enjoyable morning followed by a splendid lunch at the fabulous  Tempest Arms.

click to enlarge

I am still coming to terms with the reality that a standard British forkful is slightly bigger than the size of my slightly modified mouth especially when eating in public.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Russia Just Loves Water Towers

This Blog has been on the go since May 2010.   Below is the latest statement of where our audiences have come from over the years.   I have had fun with this before, mentioning tasty keywords such as GCHQ, Kremlin and Pentagon.

Here's a new set - Salisbury, holidays, old clocks, spire, Holland, Novichok, Trump, Brexit, water tower.

Pageviews by Countries 

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United Kingdom
United States
New Zealand

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Couldn't Resist This

One of the advantages of having an iPhone in your pocket all of the time is that you have a first rate camera with you too.   This afternoon I was up on the roof, as you do, and this beautiful and contrasty land and sky picture presented itself:


Monday, 1 October 2018

Another Fine Morning

The area round Settle never ceases to yield stunning views, season by season:

This is the dip in the road from Settle to Malham below which is Scaleber Force: